Friday, Sept 20
I woke up determined to walk some more and see who I could meet. But first I wanted to clean the floors… I didn’t know who I might go see and was going over ideas in my head… then, as I was whacking out one of the big rugs on the porch, I heard a honking and looked up to see the husband of Karen, the super friendly and resourceful woman who sets up a little outdoor shop on the open lot by our street (33rd) and MLK — I bought a couple of awesome purses and beautiful lamps from her awhile back. Anyway, Mike waved and asked how I was doing from his old dark blue pick-up truck, and then let me know that they had another sale going today.
I finished up the cleaning and headed down–JUST in time for it to start raining! Karen and I scrambled to get everything into the plastic boxes before it got drenched, and Mike pulled up soon afterwards to load it all (he wouldn’t let me lift anything up, like a true gentleman). The rain let up and we chatted and got to know each other better. Then, as we said goodbye, Mike asked where my car was–when I told him I’d walked, he insisted on giving me a ride back to the house (only two blocks down).
They’re an incredibly kind couple. Karen grew up in the neighborhood and I realized as we were talking that she’s an answer to one of my prayers… I am SUCH a scrounge, picking up useful discarded stuff whenever I see it, but almost never live in a situation where I can keep the stuff I want to save, and I haven’t ever developed the memory to give stuff away. It’s been the frustration of many an ex-roommate and my ex-husband, and after the show “Hoarders” found a way to turn yet another natural human inclination into a “disease,” I’ve found myself feeling defensive and a bit isolated in this tendency.
I realized that Karen and Mike are TOTALLY kindred spirits who not only see the value in things people get rid of, but are making a space in the world so that others can benefit from that stuff too. AND now I know I have someone I can bring my salvaged stuff to who will turn it around for a profit–everyone wins! I also have a good place to give my own old things a new life… since I’m so over the Goodwill Industrial Complex and have really been wanting to find something hyperlocal. I admitted to them my private fantasy of having a big shed where I can store things I find and can see being useful someday, to SOMEBODY… and Karen said, “Well bring me whatever you want, Mike built me a big old storage shed in the back so I have space!”
* * *
After Karen and Mike dropped me off, I headed over to LaWanda’s house… they live two doors over and I’ve come to like her, her husband David, and their kids SO much. They’re just incredibly nice to be around, very joyful and laid back… and I just discovered LaWanda is an artist and really want to see her work. I wasn’t sure if she’d be OK with me just dropping by–I thought she might but still, there was nervousness… but I pushed through that and ended up catching her on the porch in her houseclothes. She greeted me warmly and seemed happy and unphased when I said I just stopped by to say Hi. She welcomed me to sit down and we spent the next 2 hours talking about everything from relationships to chiggers, watching neighbors go by and greeting them, hanging out with her kids and husband when they got home, and enjoying the cooling weather.
A young man named Frog stopped by who does some kind of music production, and invited us to a video shoot/party he’s doing at his house Sunday night (but if we come, he said, we have to help each other get “super fly”). I also discovered that I share music taste and a penchant for writing with her oldest daughter Lanay (the girl loves Queen… which makes me so happy), AND got a gig offer to do a family photo shoot for them–I just need to name my price. LaWanda and I exchanged phone numbers and email before I left so we can hang out more–and especially help each other meet our exercise goals by walking around the neighborhood together.
As I was getting ready to go, the rain had started back up. LaWanda insisted I use one of their umbrellas and, before I could gratefully shrug off the offer, the middle youngest daughter Ani handed me her little brother’s Spiderman kid-sized umbrella. I was touched by this second act of caring from my neighbors.
As I walked across the wet grassy lot back to my house, I heard some tiny voices–almost a chorus of them. I looked back to see the little girls Ani and Gabby singing and dancing around on the porch, their faces pointed at me. Squinting (because somehow squinting seems to help one hear better?), I realized with a laugh that they were singing the Spiderman theme.
I laughed, did a little Spiderman dance, and walked back home very happy.